Los Angeles is one of the most frustrating places if you happen to own a drone. The high number of airports and city restrictions makes it nearly impossible to fly your drone without risk of a citation. You can’t even fly it at a park or beach due to city ordinances. There are even filming restrictions in LA that require you to officially have someone monitor to your flight to ensure that you’re flying safely if you want to use your drone to capture video. This has caused a lot of us to ask, “Where to fly a drone in Los Angeles?”
I actually got my first drone in June 2017. It’s was a DJI Spark, so it’s a small and friendly drone. However, as I researched places to fly it, I was surprised at the number of restrictions that drone operators face in LA. All I wanted to do was to practice flying it and my drone ended up gathering dust since I could find places to fly it.
That is until I found two places in LA where you can actually practice flying your drone!
San Fernando Valley RC Flyers Apollo 11 Airfield
The first place is the Apollo 11 aircraft airfield in Lake Balboa. This is actually a remote control (or RC) aircraft field, and ironically, it’s near one of LA’s smaller airports in Van Nuys. The RC plane community isn’t always fond of quadcopters (or “drones”). However, they do have an area dedicated on the south side of the field where you can practice flying your drone. You’ll see a lot of professional, racer, and hobby drone pilots there, and everyone seems fairly friendly.
The quadcopter field is open to the public and does not require you to get a membership to the club. Though if you use it a lot, it probably wouldn’t hurt to support the San Fernando Valley Flyers since they maintain the area. You will want to be careful not to fly your drone on the airfield side as there are a lot of model aircraft flying in the area. If you’re flying your drone, stick to flying southwards from the helicopter pad area. You’ll get some nice shots for the park and the 101 and 405 freeways.
Also, if the club is having a special event, the quadcopter field is often closed off. I recommend checking the website for any upcoming events.
To get here, all you need to do is head to Woodley Park and enter the driveway marked with the Apollo 11 RC Airstrip sign off of Woodley Avenue. From there, just drive down the path and park your car in the lot. The airfield has plenty of parking spaces and a public restroom.
Rose Bowl Stadium – Lot H
The second location where you can safely practice flying your drone is Lot H of the Rose Bowl. While you should never fly into or along a stadium, this area near the Rose Bowl seems to be a safe zone for drone operators. I’ve been here many times, and it’s a great place to learn the basic of flying your quadcopter.
The only catch is that you shouldn’t use the field when there are lots of people around, or when there is an actual event at the Rose Bowl. This is usually not an issue during the week, but can be a problem during the weekends. I have tried to use the field in the past only to find that there is a huge kids soccer match in the lot.
Those are my top recommendations for beginner drone pilots in Los Angeles. I’ve included the address for both locations on the map below. Of course, there are places in LA County where you can safely operate your drone. However, it always helps to have some practice flight time under your belt when you’re starting out and learning all the controls and features.
Just a reminder, always operate your drone safely and within the FAA rules. This includes:
- Maintaining visual line of sight (VLOS) of your drone
- Not flying over 400 feet
- Not flying over people
If you’re like me, then you’re probably feeling a bit paranoid when flying your drone. So hopefully these places will help build your confidence since you’ll able to master the basic controls.
For more information on drones, check out our:
If you want to get even more serious about drones, consider getting an FAA 107 certification. While you can study for the test without a prep course, we recommend the Drone Pilot Ground School course taught by UAV Coach. We completed the course in January 2018 and passed the certification test with a 95%. Getting your FAA 107 certificate is not required for hobbyist pilots. However, you’ll learn a lot of fundamental aviation concepts that will make you a better drone operator and pilot.
Do you have any favorite places in LA to fly a drone? If so, please share them below in the comment section.